Hexwood's Goon

Elizabeth Parks mep3 at st-andrews.ac.uk
Fri Feb 15 07:42:19 EST 2002

SCHPOILERZ for _Hexwood_ and _Archer's Goon_




I was reading Archer, again, last night (I really love that book for so
many reasons) and it occurred to me that what happens with Venturas
(not-on-purpose) is rahter similar to what the Bannus does to Mordion, on
purpose.  I refer to this kind of changing of what one will be--how
Mordion, through living another life, figures out that what Orm did to him
was Very Wrong and that using people for your ends is Bad and so on and so
forth.  Compare this, then, to Howard/Venturas, and how he, through living
as Howard to thirteen a second time, learns through watching his siblings
try to control people and through not being the youngest himself what was
wrong with him before.  I find the way he regards Awful, especially, to be
so key (and that was, after all, the main difference between the two
Howard-lives: Awful only showed up in the second); the way he realizes
that he can't let Awful grow up to be, well, awful, that is to say, like
Archer and Shine and Dillian and even Erskine and Venturus.

I was just thinking about how I sort DWJ books: the series books go
together, of course, and then there are the mythic books and the
otherworld books, but mostly I think of them in terms of the main
character.  There are the ones who are sort of normal, almost bystanders:
Kathleen in Dogsbody, David in EDoL, Heather in Wild Robert.  I like
Kathleen, especially (though I suppose her main characterness is very
debatable), but she lacks the faults and the dimensions of Sophie or
Vivian, for example.  I would also put Abdullah from Castle and probably
Cat from CL in this category.   Both Sophie (Howl) and Vivian (Time City,
and I fall
in the category of those who Really Like that book), as well as Howard
(Archer), Ann from Hexwood, and probably Christopher (LoCC) are in my
'dynamic main character with a certain wit and daring who discovers their
own stupidity/arrogance/value/talent/etc in the dark hour before dawn (the
climaxy-resolution bit).  Maree would probably go into this category.
Many of these characters are accompanied by a character who is also
Dynamic and frequently more beautiful/clever/witty/enlightened than the
character itself: examples include the Goddess from LoCC, Awful from
Archer (who is, btw, one of my all time favorite characters.  I simply
adore her.  Do you think it would be horrible to name a child after her?),
Jonathan from Time City, Janet from CL, the cat from MoC (can't remember
his name!), and Tacroy from LoCC.  And Howl.  He's sort of the ubercool
other. These differ from characters who we also get insight into, like
Mordion from Hexwood and Rupert from Deep Secret (both of whom are
arguably main characters).  Then there are the books with multiple main
characters--Hexwood, in that it has Ann, Vierran, and Mordion; Deep
Secret, too; especially Ogre comes to mind here, as does Year of the
Griffin.  These are books where I am less likely to have a particular Real
Favorite Character (no Howl, no Awful, no Calcifer or Throgmorten or
Mordion or Torquil (you will notice that with the exception of Awful
they're all male.  Though neither Calcifer or Throgmorten is human. . .
hmm)), because they don't have the same charisma to me (though I rather
like the Ogre, at least towards the end of the book).  Sophie should
probably go on my favorite list, too.  And those are my basic divisions
(dealing with, mainly, the books I know best/have on my shelf/have read
dozens of times).

Um--I suppose I should mention that midway through writing that I took a
break to read the Harry Potter fanfic Tough Guide (imho quite funny, and I
haven't read more than three HP fanfics) so I think I had a little of that
mindset going on.  I also seem to be composing really odd sentences
today--I think it comes from mixing Ann Radcliffe with Liza Dalby with DWJ
with the Dalai Lama with Shinjo Mayu (Japanese) with Sluggy Lego week with
Marlowe's Faustus.  I feel like I need some mind-sherbert to clear my



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